Developing the Software Engineering Team

Hogan, J.M. and Thomas, R.C.

    Teamwork is often considered one of the most important 'generic skills' that we can provide to graduates entering the information technology profession. Often though, through the rush of covering important content, we short change our students by giving them limited opportunities to learn how to work effectively in teams. Students also often complain that although they are expected to work in teams on projects, they are never given any advice or guidance on how to work in a team (Hart and Stone, 2002). Or, if they are given guidance, it is often from a business perspective that students find difficult to integrate into their software development practice. In this paper we discuss a course-spanning initiative to help students learn teamwork skills. This initiative starts in first year by emphasising a core set of skills directly related to working in teams. These skills are applied in small software development teams, with close tutor supervision focusing students on teamwork rather than upon individual software development. The theme then continues into second and third year where the growing sophistication of the students' teamwork skills is complemented by increasing their independence and requiring students to apply a professional software engineering process as a development team. By the end of their course students are then in a position to work together effectively solving complex problems for a real industry client.
Cite as: Hogan, J.M. and Thomas, R.C. (2005). Developing the Software Engineering Team. In Proc. Seventh Australasian Computing Education Conference (ACE2005), Newcastle, Australia. CRPIT, 42. Young, A. and Tolhurst, D., Eds. ACS. 203-210.
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